Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Firefighter Fired After Food Run Delays Response

AUSTIN, Texas -- Before jumping onto an Austin firetruck and rushing to a woman in respiratory distress earlier this year, officials say, firefighter Michael Pooler decided to make a quick stop.

He went to the Burger House next door.

The food run delayed the Austin Fire Department's response to the call by two minutes and led acting Fire Chief Jim Evans to fire Pooler.

Evans said in a disciplinary memo released Tuesday that Pooler demonstrated "a shocking neglect of duty" in the Jan. 4 incident.

"Immediate response to 911 calls is the very essence of what it means to be an Austin firefighter. " Because of his selfish and highly unprofessional actions, he has no right to remain an Austin firefighter," the memo said.

Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle DeCrane said paramedics from Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services reached the patient before firefighters and canceled the firefighter response.

The patient's condition is not known.

DeCrane said the 911 call originated from an Austin Regional Clinic near Far West Boulevard and MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1). In an audio recording of the call, a clinic employee told a dispatcher that the patient was a 77-year-old woman who was having difficulty talking and breathing at the same time.

Pooler, a 12-year veteran of the Fire Department, declined through a union representative to comment on the firing, which happened after a hearing Friday. He does not have an attorney, said Palmer Buck, secretary for the Austin Association of Professional Firefighters.

Buck said Pooler plans to appeal the firing.

According to the three-page memo, Pooler was at Station 21 on Spicewood Springs Road, near Mesa Drive in Northwest Austin, when its crew was dispatched to the call.

Pooler, who was the on-duty supervisor, walked away from the fire station to place an order at the adjacent restaurant, the memo said.

DeCrane said other firefighters did not depart without Pooler, probably because department policy requires four firefighters on most engines and because Pooler was the crew leader.

Evans said in the memo that for a person in respiratory distress, two minutes can mean the difference between life and death, or could lead to permanent brain injury.

He also said that Pooler's actions "erode and violate the public's trust in the Austin Fire Department."

tplohetski@statesman.com; 445-3605

RELATED ARTICLES

1,800 EMS Workers Ratify 3-Year Contract with AMR

Emergency medical service (EMS) professionals working in 13 counties across California have voted to ratify a new 3-year agreement with the ambulance company...

FDM Records Management System Key to Minnesota’s First Integrated Public Safety System

Firefighters heading to a blaze in Anoka County, Minnesota will soon know if they will be walking into a drug house, thanks to a new Public Safety Data Syste...

British Columbia Paramedics Launch Major Public Awareness Campaign

VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s 4,000 Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers are launching a major province-wide public awareness campaign...

South Carolina County EMS Tries to Ease Workload of 24-Hour Shifts

Charleston County EMS schedule switch brings some praise and some grumbling Other agencies such as Berkeley, Dorchester struggle with fatigue, weigh possible...

MONOC is Awarded 911 EMS Contract for City of Orange

Wall, NJ – MONOC is proud to announce that it has just been awarded a one year contract to provide 911 EMS services to the City of Orange.  The co...

MONOC Medics First in New Jersey to Carry TXA

Wall, NJ – MONOC Paramedics are the first in New Jersey to carry a medication called Tranexamic Acid (TXA) on their Mobile Intensive Care Units to give...

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers